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dr. Rory de Vries

dr. Rory de Vries

rory de Vries

During his PHD and subsequent PostDoc Dr. Rory de Vries obtained an expertise in virology, T-cell immunology and vaccine development. Initially he investigated how measles virus causes disease and immune suppression. Rory was the first  to identify dendritic cells and alveolar macrophages in the respiratory tract as initial cell types infected by measles virus. Furthermore, he showed that measles virus preferentially infects memory T-cells and therefore causes immune amnesia. During these studies, Rory has obtained broad expertise in the areas of RNA viruses and T-cell immunity. After finishing his PhD his interest shifted to vaccine development and cross-reactive T-cells, T-cells that can recognize not only their specific target, but also distinct pathogens.

Rory showed that in a non-human primate model measles vaccination protected macaques from disease caused by distinct but related animal viruses, due to presence of cross-reactive T-cells. Taking this one step further, he identified measles virus-specific T-cells that recognize many other viruses within the same virus family - Paramyxoviridae. These cross-reactive T-cells recognize epitopes of paramyxoviruses that are highly genetically conserved owing to strong functional constraints that prevent mutations. This led him to start a Postdoctoral project to develop an innovative 'universal' influenza vaccine by genetically designing and optimizing viral proteins to induce influenza virus-specific cross-reactive antibodies and T-cells.

Field of Expertise: Paramyxoviruses

Teaching

After finishing his PhD Rory has been teaching in two different Master programs: "Infection & Immunity" at Erasmus MC and "Molecular Life Sciences" at the Hogeschool of Arnhem and Nijmegen. The lectures range in topic, but are mainly focused on morbilliviruses, influenza virus-specific immunity and immunity induced by vectored vaccines. Rory has been involved in the "Viruskenner" project since 2012, a project that focuses on generating awareness for viral infections and viral spread among high school students. Since 2014 Rory is a teacher in the LCR schooling program for vaccination physicians, teaching basic immunology and vaccinology. Since 2016, Rory is a teacher in the article 9 course at the Erasmus MC, instructing on experimental design of animal studies and handling of laboratory animals. Finally, he has supervised multiple Bachelor and Master students.

Training

As an experienced user of flow cytometers and confocal microscopes Rory trains novel users and students to make experimental designs and protocols for this technology. Furthermore, he gives introductory lectures on the use of flow cytometers and guide users through their first set of experiments. In addition, he is a supervisor of the animal laboratory at the Viroscience department of Erasmus MC and trains new users of this laboratory in basic handling of small laboratory animals.

Management

During his time as PostDoc (2013-2018) Rory co-managed (together with the principal investigator and project office) the EU FP7 project InFLUenza virus UNIversal VACcine development program (FLUNIVAC). This included writing the progress reports and technical reports of the project, and the major task was supervision of a PhD student and multiple technicians, generating a basic line of research within the project and prioritizing the various research components of the project. Next to project management, he has multiple roles in managing laboratory space and technology. Rory is responsible for managing the flow cytometers within the Erasmus MC department of Viroscience, and is currently responsible for the animal laboratory within the same department. This managerial responsibility includes making sure that all permits required to do experiments are in place (GMO and animal). Furthermore, he is the first line of response in the case of alarms generated by BSL3 isolators in the animal facility. Finally, he is responsible for drafting and managing mouse animal protocols. 

Sociatal impact of research

Rory is active as coach in the "Viruskenner" project. This project aims to help create more awareness about viral diseases and the way we can fight the transmission of these viruses among school-aged children. See: viruskenner
Upon publication of his PhD thesis "Novel insights into measles pathogenesis and immune suppression" in 2013, the Netherlands was on the verge of a new measles epidemic. Therefore, shortly after publication of the thesis, the impact of this thesis on vaccination policy was widely discussed in the press, leading to multiple articles in national newspapers & interviews on radio and television. See e.g. the following examples:

As his current research focuses on the generation of novel influenza vaccines, in combination with yearly influenza vaccinations and epidemics, he is frequently consulted by and cited in Dutch national newspapers and Dutch journals (i.e. Bioké among others) on the subject of novel "universal" influenza vaccines. See e.g. the following examples:


Scholarships and prizes

  • Awarded membership of the Vaccine Young Investigator Program (YIP, 2016 - 2018)
  • KNAW Beijerinck premie (https://www.knaw.nl/nl/prijzen/prijzen/knaw-beijerinck-prijzen-voor-virologie/beijerinck-premie)

Selected Publications


Contributions to books

  • De Vries RD and RL de Swart. Measles virus: a respiratory virus causing systemic disease. Book chapter, in: Human Respiratory Viral Infections. CRC Press, ISBN 9781466583207 (2014).
  • De Vries RD, Kuiken T and de Swart RL. Morbillivirus infection in non-human primates: from humans to monkeys and back again. Chapter 14 in: Neglected Diseases in Monkeys. L. Jones-Engel and S. Knauf, Eds. Springer, in press (2018).